Barbara Walters Breaks Silence Over Affair with Senator

05/01/2008 at 04:45 PM EDT

Barbara Walters Breaks Silence Over Affair with Senator
Barbara Walters and U.S. Sen. Edward Brooke
Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic; Michael Dwyer/AP
It's kiss-and-tell time for Barbara Walters: She had an affair with U.S. Sen. Edward Brooke in the 1970s, the veteran journalist revealed during an interview with Oprah Winfrey scheduled to air on Tuesday.

After three decades of silence, Walters, 78, is speaking out about her multi-year relationship. According to transcripts from the show obtained by the Associated Press, the View host called Brooke "exciting" and "brilliant" – and tells Winfrey, "I was certainly infatuated ... It was exciting times in Washington."

Walters never talked about her relationship for fear that it would damage her career. Talking to Winfrey, she recounts a phone call with a friend who warned her, "This is going to come out. This is going to ruin your career ... This is going to ruin him. You've got to break this off.'"

Brooke, a moderate Republican from Massachusetts, was elected to the Senate in 1966. At the time, Walters, who was divorced twice, was gaining prominence as a cohost of the Today show on NBC. According to the AP, Walters's affair with Brooke ended before the senator lost his bid for a third term in 1978.

Brooke was later divorced but has subsequently remarried.

On the Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss her memoir Audition, an emotional Walters also opened up about her late sister, Jackie, who died of ovarian cancer in 1985.

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